Samara Weaving Is Loving the Margot Robbie Comparisons
The “Ready or Not” star opens up about her turn as a bride-to-be fighting for her life in the fun horror-comedy, those comparisons to another talented Aussie, and much more.
In the delightfully gory new horror-comedy film Ready or Not, Samara Weaving’s character Grace is not your run-of-the-mill blushing bride. For one thing, she is marrying into the extremely wealthy Le Domas family, an old-money brood that reigns over a board-game empire from their sprawling, gated estate. The charming bride-to-be also has a unique reason for wanting to get married so badly: Childhood instability has left her in search of a real family. What sets her apart more than anything, however, is that she is not afraid to get her wedding gown a little dirty.
In fact, by the end of the wedding night that serves as the setting for the film, the long-sleeved, Kate Middleton-inspired dress will be completely unrecognizable—left charred and drenched in blood, human matter, and goat remains after an, erm, unconventional game of hide-and-seek. Ready or Not is a scathing takedown of the one percent, featuring a blue-blooded family with a sinister initiation ritual for new members. Tradition holds that any new addition to the Le Domas clan must play a game, randomly selected from a deck of cards, at midnight after his or her wedding. When poor, unsuspecting Grace draws the hide-and-seek card, she doesn’t realize that a pact with the Devil requires her new in-laws to hunt and kill her.
The dark humor of Ready or Not, in theaters Aug. 23, revolves around the fact that the members of the Le Domas family are not very good at being murderers. Think The Most Dangerous Game, if General Zaroff was coked up, dressed like a long-lost member of the Addams family, and kept accidentally killing the help. Armed, for the sake of tradition, with antique weapons, the unlikely villains are out of practice; no one has drawn the hide-and-seek card in 30 years.
Immediately upon the start of the game, Fitch (Kristian Bruun) retreats to the bathroom to watch a YouTube video on his phone titled, “Getting to Know Your Crossbow.” (Later, he googles “pacts with the devil real or bullshit.”) Similarly, when Grace realizes the very real horror of what is going on, she does not suddenly transform into Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. Though untrained at fighting for her life, she is tough, resourceful, and—most importantly—dealing with an especially incompetent team of assassins.
According to Samara Weaving, this distinction made playing Grace more fun than arduous. “[I didn’t] have to fight and make it look like I was a fighter,” she says. “It could be messy and scrappy and sloppy.”
In approaching the role, Weaving did not want Grace to be just another damsel in distress. “I really wanted there to be a pivot where she gets angry and determined,” says Weaving, “rather than accidentally getting out of trouble.” One of the most emotional scenes of the movie is between Weaving’s Grace and her husband Alex’s mother, played by a steely Andie MacDowell. Like Grace, MacDowell’s Becky did not seem to fit in with the family at first (which, as Adam Brody’s wickedly funny character points out, is a compliment). In the scene, Grace opens up about her childhood in foster care, an experience that both strengthened her longing for the comfort of a family and instilled in her self-preservation instincts.
“I like the idea that she’s probably had a tough childhood and had to fight as a kid and a teenager, and maybe she fought with the foster parents,” Weaving explains. Having the freedom to play with the role and bring her own sense of grit to the character was part of what drew Weaving to the project, she says.
The Aussie actor (and niece of actor Hugo Weaving) was skeptical of taking on the project at first. Though the script instantly resonated with her, she had done her fair share of genre films in the past. In 2017, Weaving appeared in the action-horror film Mayhem (costarring The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun) and starred as the titular demonic cult member in Netflix’s The Babysitter. That same year, she had a brief role in the Oscar-nominated Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
For two years, Weaving also played Nelson Rose on SMILF, the Showtime comedy created by and starring Frankie Shaw, based on the latter’s short film of the same name. Weaving played the girlfriend of Shaw’s character’s ex until exiting the show last December after claiming that her contract was breached during a sex scene. Shaw allegedly pressured Weaving into a nude scene in spite of the no-nudity clause in her contract. SMILF was cancelled this spring after two seasons in the wake of the controversy. Weaving declined to comment on the matter when we spoke.
Still, the 27-year-old is interested in doing television again. “I think it’s really taking off, you know?” she says. “A lot of big, big movie stars are doing series, which is great. I think we should all crossover and mix it all around.” For now, the rising star wants to keep her options open—so much so that when I ask her to name a director she would love to work with in the future, she gives a coy response. “Oh gosh, that’s such a tricky question because there’s so many!” Weaving exclaims. “I feel like if I say one person then I’m cutting off everyone else.” Laughing, she asks, “Is that a trick question? I’m not sure.”
In the meantime, we can expect to see her on the big screen again later this year in Guns Akimbo with Daniel Radcliffe, for which she donned silver teeth and fake face tattoos. Weaving has also just finished wrapping Bill & Ted Face the Music, the third installment in the cult-classic Bill & Ted franchise starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter. The film is currently slated for an August 2020 release.
As for Ready or Not, Weaving has a simple request of audiences: “I hope that the people just have a really good time… There’s not a dull moment.” She and the rest of the ensemble cast (MacDowell, Brody, Bruun, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, and Nicky Guadagni) had “such fun” shooting the film, as well. For Weaving, however, watching horror films is a far different experience from acting in them.
“I’m such an anxious person,” she admits, “that going to see horrors and thrillers where they’re so suspenseful…it’s like paying someone to make me more anxious, you know?” Earlier this month, Weaving’s fiancé shared a video of her hilariously horrified reaction to the movie It. Weaving’s the first to admit that she’s the “complete opposite” of Grace. “She’s so cool,” she says of her character. “I wish I could be more like her.”
On top of the praise she’s received for her work in Ready or Not, Weaving has made headlines for her more-than-passing resemblance to Margot Robbie. In addition to their shared home country, Weaving and the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star have in common sparkling blue eyes framed by dark brows and tousled blonde waves. “I hang out with Margot, and I mean, it’s so flattering that people think I look like her,” Weaving says, adding with a laugh, “And it’s great if it makes people go see the movie.”
Ready or Not, directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, is now playing in theaters.